When clients and providers ask me about virtual therapy, I reassure them that virtual therapy, sometimes called distance therapy, isn’t a new form of treatment; it’s a new form of delivery. Virtual therapy allows clinicians to reach out to clients regardless of where they are—the client might be home bound or doesn’t drive. Perhaps the client’s work schedule is highly irregular and requires frequent travel. In times of inclement or severe weather, some clients will cancel their appointments rather than commute through the storm! With so many variables, it can be very challenging to maintain a consistent program of care. That’s where virtual therapy makes the difference: clients can attend therapeutic sessions from the comfort of their homes or from the road so the continuity of care is maintained!
When you as a clinician can reach out to your client, or when your patient can reach out to you, regardless of your proximity, you can maintain the therapeutic relationship that you’ve built over time, even in the face of disruptive circumstances like those mentioned above. Thismatters because clients come to therapy looking to make change. For that change to be successful, the patient needs consistent care. The technology behind virtual therapy supports these two factors, consistency and regularity, which, along with the trust you’ve built over time, can drive success and facilitate lasting change as your client reaches his or her goals. If you are a clinician thinking about virtual therapy for the first time, I encourage you to learn more. Virtual therapy can empower your clients by giving them the flexibility they need to access your support and maintain a regular and consistent program of therapeutic care.
– Martha H. Ireland PhD, RN, CS, CEDS